Chapter Seven

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"How old are you?" the man enquired. He still didn't say his name, after so long. It had been a whole week. Cenna wondered about what those back at the Academy were doing. They probably figured Sir Caulder and she were gone. She jerked from her thoughts and coughed, removing her hand from the fulfilmeter. Just like she had told him a week ago, she was a level sixteen with a strongly flickering seventeenth stone.

"Sixteen," she replied.

"Months?" he asked, raising an eyebrow. Cenna opened her mouth, a dumfounded look on her face. When she thought about it more, like she did the past two weeks away from home, it did seem to have something to do with her age. It seemed to have a close connection to it.

"Eleven...I think?" she replied with a raised eyebrow, trying to remember which month it was and when her birthday was. "Uhm, yes, eleven." She nodded, more to herself than to the masked man. He was still wearing the mask, like everyone else. The man clenched one hand into a fist and punched the other's open palm.

"A month more," he mumbled, causing Cenna to raise an eyebrow in question. If he thought it had to do with age, then it must be it. Her parents' recordings prove it, as well.

"So, you think it has to do with age?" she asked, folding her arms. He nodded without hesitation, which was quite unusual for him. He liked to drag the conversations, usually. "Well, I agree, and I am sure my parents would, too." He turned his face to her, his eyes under the mask filled with intrigue. "I guess it does have to do with age."

"In a way, it is sad you can't improve your level because it comes with age, but then again, a fulfilment level sixteen, seventeen is not little at all," he said with a cheerful voice, tapping his cheek with his hand. "However, you cannot get a Drachnid, not yet."

"Why are you so eager to give me one?" she asked, tilting her head.

"It belongs to you," he shrugged. "No matter how strange it sounds. Drachnids are demons that can be born with a fate, with a decided owner."

"If it's fate, I'll get it one day," she shrugged, keeping herself calm, though she was actually excited every time he mentioned a Drachnid. After all, she was a huge fan of reptiles. She wondered what kind of a Drachnid he had in mind. If he wanted her to be a level seventeen, it meant a level ten Drachnid, which meant the lowest level Drachnid, and the smallest of Drachnids. Even so, they were strong. Sadly, the level did not indicate what it could look like. It could look like any reptile, or even a strange mixture of a reptile with a different animal of their element.

"You could, for a month already," the man replied, walking away at a quick pace.

"Hey!" Cenna hissed, jogging after him. "How is it going with Sir Caulder? Are we going to go home? Ever?"

"We are not doing really well," the man shrugged. Cenna snorted. "I still don't want to let you go home until you reach the age of seventeen." Cenna mouthed a curse.

"That is one more month!" she complained.

"Is it really so horrible here? You are getting even better training here than back at the Academy," the man replied. She could not see his expressions except through eyes, and it often nerved her. "I have sent for your items. They will be here soon." Cenna dropped her mouth open, flailing her arms around aimlessly.

"They'll end up suspecting I left them, joined the enemy!" she squealed in shock, though it was unintentional. The man laughed the muffled laughter. She got used to it, though it still bothered her.

"No worries, I wrote a message for the dear Academy," he winked, and left her standing in the middle of the hallway.

Scipio cursed under his breath again. One of the servants was doing the daily cleaning of the nobles' rooms and came across an empty room, empty of Cenna Caelnit's luggage, and found only a note. A note written with white ink on black paper. Scipio vaguely recognised it as something he had seen once, but he could not recall it. He only remembered there was no logic behind it.

"We have a teacher taken away, and a student taken away!" he growled in his sauna-like office. Arcturus bowed his head, Rook remained standing proudly and uprightly without a word, and Goodwin just shook his head away. "By the same person, as well. How? This year has not started off too well." The three teachers looked up.

"True," Rook spoke. "Lovett made a fool of herself by powering the portal to the ether herself," he spat in disgust. Scipio frowned upon his words.

"We also have this new rule that first years are attending the tournament with second years," Arcturus added, stealing a glance at Rook's still posture.

"And now, we show that we do not have perfect protection," Goodwin sighed, still shaking his head away. Scipio sighed.

"This year is a challenging one," he nodded. "However, we must find them. Arrange teams to track them down. Try the sea." He smelled the card once more. It had a barely noticeable note of saltiness in its scent caught onto the paper. Other than that, he could not figure anything else. Even the slightest note of saltiness meant it was exposed to salty air all the time. "Hurry, now. You are dismissed." The three nod and leave, one by one. Scipio shivered as the coolness of the air outside of his office slipped in through the open door.

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